Forget hot hatchbacks - the hot crossover is now a thing.
For quite some time, smaller Mazdas were competitive or even class-leading in certain aspects, but they fell short of the competition as the Japanese brand soldiered on with a range of naturally aspirated engines. Well, that's all changed this year.
The superb Mazda 3 Sedan and Hatchback were recently announced with a range-topping 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G turbocharged engine, and now the Mazda CX-30 is the next model in the brand's lineup to benefit from the added firepower of this power plant. This confirms earlier information gleaned from an order guide for the 2021 CX-30. The CX-30 2.5 Turbo produces 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, a healthy jump up from the CX-30's 2.5-liter sans turbocharging, which produces just 186 hp and 186 lb-ft.
However, it's worth noting that the new engine makes only 227 hp and 310 lb-ft when running on regular 87 octane gas. Although Mazda has made no performance claims, the new 2.5T should make for rapid acceleration within the relatively compact body of the CX-30. It's just what Mazda needs to fend off the upcoming Hyundai Kona N. The engine is paired with the brand's i-Activ all-wheel-drive system and we expect it to use a six-speed automatic transmission, as in other CX-30s.
The turbocharged engine addresses one of our few criticisms of the otherwise classy CX-30, which looks good, has a premium-feeling cabin, and comes with advanced safety gear such as rear cross-traffic braking and traffic jam assist, with the latter system providing steering assistance to keep the CX-30 in its lane at speeds below 40 mph.
To distinguish the most powerful CX-30 from other trims in the range, it receives 18-inch black aluminum-alloy wheels, gloss black door mirrors, and at the back, larger tailpipes and subtle turbo badging. Inside, there are amenities like an available 12-speaker Bose sound system, while chrome finishes and soft-touch plastics lift the impression of quality.
Although Mazda says that pricing will only be announced in months to come, an early order guide revealed that it will start at a pricey $29,900 before a $1,100 destination charge. That's more expensive than several trims within the larger CX-5 range and is a significant sum for a subcompact crossover. The turbocharged CX-30 will go on sale before the end of the year as a 2021 model.